As some of my more patient friends know, I have been toiling away at a book on Chinese monetary history during the Interwar period off and on for some years. Immersing myself in the public and private words of the historic figures of the 1930’s has perhaps sensitized me to the propensity of even well-intentioned leaders to glide into chaos. That which is unthinkable inexorably becomes inevitable.
Today, five days after he tweeted this deadline and nine months since he first declared the intention to do so, President Trump raised the tariff on $200B of imports from China from the +10% first applied in March 2018 to +25%. The action follows China’s message to U.S. negotiators backtracking on a number of earlier promises to increase intellectual property protections.
By SUN Xi and Herta Monica Montesino Cucos
“The China-US relationship can never be too good or too bad” or so believed Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of modern China. Today, however, there are new views according to which the China-US relationship will never return to how it was in the past, and that it cannot avoid the “Thucydides trap.” It is arguable whether China and the United States have started a “new Cold War,” but the trade and technology war is clearly already going on.
“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth— persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John F. Kennedy, Yale University Commencement Address June 11, 1962
Another amazing week. As politics got murkier however, markets surged higher. In terms of what will be remembered decades from now, the event that shocked nearly everyone was the abrupt ending of the US-North Korea Summit. As the next set of leadership-level meetings loom this month, surely the Chinese must be reevaluating their strategy vis-à-vis President Donald Trump. What these negotiations have in common is that in both cases the US is asking Kim Jun-un and Xi Jinping for structural changes that for different reasons each might have trouble delivering.
The US government shutdown is over, but the question of how a wall between the US and Mexico will be funded is unresolved. The threat, or lack of a threat posed by immigrants at the southern border, is a litmus test for US politicians. AMLO, Mexico’s new leader, could achieve what no one has before in terms of eliminating violence and corruption, or he could make things much, much worse and turn his country into the next Venezuela.